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Why Does SEO Take So Long?

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Article Overview

SEO is not instant or does not happen in 90 days. Therefore, you must view your SEO with a long-term commitment and vision. Dramatic plunges in the rankings always offset quick SEO gains. It's as simple as that! For solid, stable SEO rankings, be prepared to work on your website for at least 12 months. Anything less won't help. Of course, this is not the ideal solution for most businesses that need to be in the customer's face quickly, which is why some Adwords delivers instant Google results. But, it can get super-expensive, leaving the door open for SEO. But, with your SEO campaign, be realistic with timings.

SEO takes time. Simple as that! You need to think medium to long term

Quick SEO results can often lead to Google penalties – you have to need to have a realistic time frame & be in this for the long haul.

How long will it take you to rank my website on the first page of Google? Why does SEO take so long? Why can’t you rush the SEO process and get my website ranking quickly? Why do I have to pay you for months and months and yet my website isn’t on page 1 of the search engines? Other companies are promising fast results, why are you telling me that I have to be patient?

Also Read: How long does SEO take & why do I have to wait so long?

These are very common SEO questions and the average business owner who is wanting quick results, really needs to understand that the ranking process for your website is an ongoing campaign and that fast results are simply no longer achievable.

It is frustrating and there is absolutely nothing a credible SEO agency can do about it, but the reality is, that SEO takes time and it will take anywhere between 6-9 months to get some decent rankings on Google. It could take even longer and this really depends on the competitive nature of the keywords you are trying to target.

I know this sounds terrible and I know that this isn’t what you want to hear but before you exit this blog article, you should know that I have been doing SEO for well over 15 years and I know the realities that businesses in Sydney face when it comes to website rankings. Yes, it is frustrating and yes you do have to have the patience of a saint, but if you are prepared to wait and stick it out,  accept the fact that SEO takes time and is not a quick process, then you will reap the benefits and rewards that only a page one Google ranking and large traffic numbers can bring to your business.

Rushing SEO and expecting quick wins and easy rankings do not happen anymore. It used to be that way but Google has stamped these types of practices completely out with their Penguin and Panda algorithms.

If you think you can pressure your SEO agency to get you to page one quickly  (even to position # 1 for competitive keywords) then you are asking for serious trouble. Yes, they might do this to appease you but Google will know what’s going on, pick up on this ‘spammy’ over optimisation of backlinking and penalise your website. Ahrefs has a great article on this called Google Penalties: The Newbie-Friendly Guide which will highlight in detail what you can expect if you rush your SEO and expect short-term miracles.

The is no specific answer to this problem, but more of a series of suggestions for why SEO is a long and often drawn-out process.

However, the following are some answers that should put the spotlight on why you need to be realistic with your SEO expectations and timings.

1) Do New websites take longer to rank?

If the answer is yes, then settle in, strap on your seat belt and be ready for a long ride. New websites have absolutely zero authority or trust in the eyes of Google and SEO is the process that creates this authority & trust. Unfortunately, if you rush this authority and build loads of backlinks really quickly, this activity will get picked up by the algorithm and your website will be penalised. Slow and steady is the name of the game here. We obviously know that you are going to want some quick wins so the best way to achieve this is to look at optimising other pages of your website such as specific products or services. Let’s say for example you’re an electrician in Bondi and you have just launched a new website hoping to attract business. Then it will be easier to rank internal service pages like: ‘lighting installation Bondi’ than it will ‘Electricians Bondi’. The aim is to go for these easier keywords that still have website searches so you can start to get business in the short term while we push for those juicier more competitive money keywords. Search Engine Journal gives us a great example when they tell us If you’re selling something like salmon-flavoured breakfast cereal, you probably won’t face any competition.

This is the main reason why SEO takes so long as we have to build your authority slowly and organically over many months. Things have to look natural and the moment we begin to do anything other than being completely organic; we end up getting your website penalised.

A new website needs so much work and attention if it has any chance of ranking and this process takes time; many man hours and constant backlinking as well as building quality content throughout the site. As the months roll on and the trust and authority start to accumulate then you are going to start to see more and more of your pages start to get better rankings.

2) Look at Your Competition

Many people tell me that they cannot understand why their competitor is always on page one when they are a smaller company than theirs. It doesn’t seem fair! They get frustrated because their SEO campaign has been going on for 3 months yet they are unable to overtake their competitors. The truth behind this is that their competition has probably been doing SEO for many years; slowly and methodically. They have done the hard, slogged it out, been patient and done everything properly with their internet marketing campaign and this is why their number one position is solid and has remained that way for many years.

There is no way in the world that you should expect to dislodge these guys in a short time frame. You can forget about it! Some SEO companies will tell you ( just to get your business) that they will be able to do this, but this is wrong. Overall, if you want to play in the same league as the big boys then you have to play the same game and this all takes plenty of time. I have said this over and over again; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The guys ahead of you are there for a reason and that’s simply because they are one step ahead of you. You will get there but you just have to give it time.

3) Speedy SEO Results are No Good

That’s right, you have been overzealous with your backlinking and trusted a dodgy SEO company and now your rankings are sliding down. Guess what, this happens all the time and is the result of over-optimisation and a lack of understanding of the time it takes for credible SEO to occur.

What now has to happen is that you have to go back right to the beginning and start all over again. Yes, go to the back of the queue and do it all over again. This time, use a better SEO company and someone who is not afraid to tell you that SEO takes time and is a long process. Telling the truth about SEO timings and having you, the client understand and digest this is the best start possible. Being lied to and being promised very unrealistic milestones, maybe what you want to hear and may appease your desire for rankings, is far from the truth.

Google penalties, rank suppression, and poor results are all a by-product of fast SEO and being told what you want to hear is just blinding you to the realities that are SEO.

4) Up One Day, Down the Next

This is called ranking fluctuations and it is all part of the lovely game that Google likes to play. You might be sitting at position number 2 and then overnight you are at # 6. This happens frequently, in some cases weekly and is a natural phenomenon in the SEO landscape. The trick here is to minimise these types of fluctuations and when they do happen keep them to only a minor variation.

For this to happen and keep your rankings within a certain area you need to have created a very solid foundation with your internet marketing and be basically ticking all the right boxes when it comes to your SEO, this includes: being actively engaged on a variety of social media platforms, blogging or content marketing and ‘white hat’ back linking from very high domain authority sites. Guess what, this all takes time and cannot be rushed. hence the need for an understanding and truthful perception of the relationship between SEO and timings.

The best recipe for SEO success is not to fight or try to negotiate timings with your SEO provider but work in a partnership-like manner that will see an open and honest transfer of information between the two parties. When this happens, then and only then will start to see the great benefits that the page 1 position can bring. SEO is an investment and this all takes time!

5) Bartering for time and expecting unrealistic results

I get it all the time. Clients set me targets that they have dreamt up in their minds. They say I will give you 3 months to get my website to page 1 or else I am going to look elsewhere. Why? Because the other bloke I rang promised me and even put it in an email, he guaranteed me the # 1 position in 90 days.

These types of clients who set these impractical, improbable, blue sky, call it whatever you want, goals are the types of companies that will never be able to achieve a solid Google ranking. Why? Because they flit from one SEO company to the next, expecting overnight miracles and the more companies they switch between, the more damage they are doing to their rankings.

6) Google wants to see activity

That’s right. Google wants to see that your website is being updated constantly and with blogs, news articles and extra pages such as adding new products or services or even looking at older pages and refreshing those with a new copy. This is an ongoing process and the more fresh, relevant copy you’re adding, the more authority you build to your site. You will have to also be active on your social media as this builds brand awareness which can also contribute to your overall rankings. Basically, the more people that know about your business and visit your site the more trustworthy you become.

7) Outreach for high domain authority

The best way to build authority is to get a backlink from another website that points to your site. This is called a backlink and is one of the best ways that Google can recognise the authority of your site. This is the backbone of all SEO campaigns and getting these links takes time.

Also read: link building agency Sydney

They do not magically appear from nowhere. We have to get in touch with other website owners in your relevant industry and outreach to them and see if they are prepared to post an article on their site with a link to your site. Complicated I know, but this takes many man hours and it’s got to be done over many months. Hence, the lengthy timings.

8. Relevancy

Google will display the most relevant results and you can read more by Google at How results are automatically generated. And, if you are not updating your website with fresh, new information, it may be deemed outdated, which is why SEO is essentially never-ending. A set-and-forget attitude no longer works with SEO, which makes timings and lengths of SEO uncertain. The only way to be sure of any decent ranking is to work on your website and target all areas of your digital marketing, which includes social media, content marketing and, in the case of eCommerce, product updates.

These are the realities of Google and I am not afraid to tell you about them. This is why I can be trusted and this is why our websites and all our client’s websites do so well. Because they understand and get the value that we place on SEO timings!

steven waldberg - ceo seo sydney experts

About the author

Steven Waldberg

Steven is the director of SEO Sydney Experts and is one of the founding members ( that’s over 18 years ago). He has one of the longest careers in the SEO and content marketing industry and has written for many prestigious websites, including B & T and AdNews. If you’re serious about working with someone who will dedicate 100% of himself to your business; Steven is your SEO Expert.

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